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Review: 'The Mandalorian' goes where 'Star Wars' has gone before

By Tom Long
Special to The Detroit News

“The Mandalorian” is Clint Eastwood in a space suit, except this time the man with no name is also the man with no face since he never takes his helmet off.

The actor playing the man with no name and no face is Pedro Pascal, who played a character with a face on “Game of Thrones.” Will he ever have a name or a face in “The Mandalorian”? Will it matter?

Probably not since “The Mandalorian” is both the first live-action “Star Wars” television show and the prime original offering from the new Disney Plus streaming service, so it’s got a built-in fanboy audience.

"The Mandalorian" is available to stream on Disney+.

And those fanboys (and assumedly fangirls) will likely love “The Mandalorian” as it checks so many “Star Wars” boxes. Vast, empty landscapes on remote, dusty planets; worn-down space-age vehicles; odd creatures wearing rubber masks; shoddy cantinas in the middle of nowhere.

And lots of bad guys shooting ray guns at a hero who is apparently impossible to hit while said hero blithely hits every bad guy in sight.

“The Mandalorian” is an intergalactic bounty hunter, so he gets to shoot all those bad guys with no fear of legal interference. In the show’s first episode (another drops tomorrow, then weekly) he shows his requisite cool initially by beating up a bunch of space folk, capturing his prey and then eluding your standard gigantic space monster.

Having established his tough guy credentials Mr. No Name then meets with a nefarious type (Werner Herzog) who pays him an apparent space bundle to go after a new, mysterious target. This leads to another dusty planet, more creatures, more shooting and a big reveal that’s sure to get fans chattering.

For the rest of us not so much. “The Mandalorian” looks like “Star Wars” and the classic plotline of a dangerous sort seeking redemption through unexpected good works certainly fits into the whole space cowboy mythology (Han Solo, anyone?). But in a world drowning in sci-fi this pretty much looks like just another gulp of familiar water.

Then again familiar water seems to be what Disney Plus is offering. There are lots of ancient Disney films, lots of Pixar, lots of Marvel (including “Avengers: Endgame”) and enough animation to make sure kids are braindead for weeks on end.

Other originals include “Encore,” a reality show in which high school musical actors reunite years and pounds later to put on the same musical; a self-consciously odd show featuring the musings of Jeff Goldblum; and a Christmas movie in which Anna Kendrick plays Santa’s daughter. Again, all familiar water.

“The Mandalorian” is obviously the stand-out among the originals on Disney Plus. If only it were more, well, original.

'The Mandalorian'


Disney Plus